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Complain about a food business

If you're not satisfied with the safety of food you've bought, or you believe that a food business is unhygienic, you can make a complaint.

You can:

  • Return the food to the retailer or manufacturer. If you don’t want to make a formal complaint, this is the best option.
  • Contact us. If you think the food you bought is unsafe, please contact us straight away. Email ecp@dacorum.gov.uk or call 01442 228000.
  • Contact Trading Standards. If your food was past its ‘use by’ date or the quality was unacceptable, please contact Hertfordshire Trading Standards through the Citizens Advice consumer service on 03454 040506.

What happens when a complaint is made

  • We will ask you some questions about when and where you bought the food. If the complaint is serious and we decide to prosecute, you may have to give evidence in court.
  • If the food is perishable, please put it in your freezer (or fridge if you do not have one) until you can bring it into us.
  • Please keep the packaging and the receipt.
  • We will inspect the food.
  • If we feel that there is a problem, we will investigate.

How we investigate complaints

  • We will examine the food to find the likely origin of the contamination. If the source is in Dacorum, for example a shop, restaurant or pub, our Food Safety Team will investigate.
  • If the source is outside the borough, for example a manufacturer or farm, we will pass the complaint to the council responsible for that area.
  • We will inspect the premises and examine the food handling procedures.
  • If another council is investigating the complaint, our team will get regular updates.

Next steps

Our main concern with all complaints is to prevent anything similar happening again.

  • Businesses may introduce new controls as a result of your complaint. If this is the case we may decide to take no further action.
  • The cause of some food complaints may be hard to avoid. In these cases, businesses have to prove that they took all reasonable precautions. We will then take no further action.
  • If we can prove that a crime has taken place and the cause of the problem was a serious breakdown in food safety standards then will choose to prosecute. The maximum fine is £20,000

We will always let you know the outcome of the investigation.

More information

Please email ecp@dacorum.gov.uk or call 01442 228000 and ask for "Environmental and Community Protection".

Page Last Updated: Thursday, 01 February 2024 at 03:23 PM